ARCH Cutting Tools is facing the same talent shortage as the cutting tool industry overall, but the company says it is meeting the challenge with an aggressive workforce development strategy aimed at millennials and Gen Z. In partnership with Delta College, ARCH Cutting Tools hosted an Introduction to Machine Tools Forum at its Flushing, Mich., facility on June 6, for five students interested in careers as machinists.
ARCH Cutting Tools is building an organization-wide structured training/apprenticeship program, based on practices that have been in operation for years. The pilot program in Flushing will be duplicated at other ARCH Cutting Tools facilities in other communities throughout the U.S. in the coming months.
Jeff Cederstrom, president of ARCH Cutting Tools, a Delta College alumnus, opened the event with a brief introduction to the company and its products.
“To build tomorrow’s workforce, you have to be willing to provide the solution to today’s talent shortage,” he said, explaining the company’s commitment to training and education.
The Flushing facility is home to Ultra-Dex, an ARCH Cutting Tools business unit and Beamer Laser Marking Systems, and the presentation provided the participating students with information on career paths in precision machining.
The Ultra-Dex portion of the forum was hosted by Gregg Bishop, general manager–Ultra-Dex. Bishop explained the various skills and disciplines that are critical in today’s machining environment, including familiarity with manual Bridgeport machine operation to develop foundational industry skills up to and including
programming CNC machines.
The Beamer Laser Marking System portion of the forum, hosted by Allen Warren, engineering manager– Beamer Laser Systems, provided perspective on the manufacturing of fiber laser marking machines for a variety of industries. Focusing on the product offerings of standard, engineered and inline machines, Warren provided details on engineered solutions. Bishop joined the conversation with details of how the laser marking systems provide enhancements to manufacturing operations that improve throughput and productivity.
Throughout the forum, the Delta students were provided with demonstrations and hands-on experiences, as well as opportunities to put direct questions to the industry experts.
So, what is ARCH Cutting Tools looking for? Ultimately, the “Purple Squirrel.” That is, the ideal young machinist with natural ability, an eagerness to learn and improve, and an eye on the future of the industry. Reflecting the need of such qualified candidates, the participating students also learned that compensation continues to increase for machinists who demonstrate the necessary adaptability and skill development.
Throughout the forum, Cederstrom and Terry Morse, associate professor–business and technology at Delta College, who accompanied the students, discussed ways to work together more closely and to drive the message of the opportunities in manufacturing for young CNC machinists and programmers.
ARCH Cutting Tools, headquartered in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., produced cutting tool brands such as KEO, Ultra-Dex and Patriot.